Napoli reach their first-ever quarter-final after a brace from Victor Osimhen helped the Gli Azzurri to an emphatic 3-0 win against Eintracht Frankfurt.
The Italian side came into the game in sensational form winning eight of their last nine matches, sitting 18 points clear at the top of Serie A and being dubbed as one of the best sides in Europe.
On the other hand, Frankfurt’s form is the opposite. The German side have only one win in their last six games and needed to score at least three at the Diego Armando Maradona Stadium if they are to progress to the quarter-finals.
Osimhen scored either side of the half-time break as Napoli took the game away from Frankfurt and booked their place in the draw on Friday.
With Frankfurt four goals down in the tie, Frankfurt players had begun to lose their composure and Djibril Sow coming through the back of Piotr Zielinksi in the box was an example of that. Anthony Taylor awarded the penalty and man who was fouled stepped up and converted the spot-kick.
Napoli’s fine season continues as they seek a continental double and will find out their route to Istanbul on Friday morning.
Story of the Match
Napoli are running away with the league in Italy and strengthened their grip on the Scudetto with a 2-0 win over Atalanta at the weekend, but Luciano Spalletti made one change to his side as he swapped Mario Rui with Mathias Olivera.
Oliver Glasner’s side currently sit outside the Champions League places in Germany and the German manager shuffles his pack from their 1-1 draw with VFB Stuttgart at the weekend, with Christopher Lenz, Ansgar Knauff, and Rafael Santos Borre coming into the starting line-up.
Napoli were in control of the tie after their impressive 2-0 performance away in Frankfurt, but Frankfurt were hoping that they could stage a comeback to reach the last eight.
The German side started the first half better than the first leg, without creating any clearcut chances, but they looked much more compact with Napoli not slicing through as they did in the first leg.
Khvicha Kvaratskhelia began to assert himself on the game as he started to get on the ball and have joy down the left-hand side. The Georgian could have opened the scoring as he glided through the heart of the Frankfurt defence, but he took the ball slightly wide and could not cut his effort back into the corner past Kevin Trapp.
Kvaratskhelia, who has two goals and three assists in the Champions League this season, again could have had the first goal of the game when he was slipped in down the left by Piotr Zielinski, he shaped his body to tuck into the bottom right but his effort was denied by Trapp.
The home side had the deserved opening goal of the game on the stroke of half-time. Matteo Politano hung a cross to the back post, where the talismanic Osimhen leapt and powered a header into the far corner to put the Italian side in cruise control.
Napoli doubled their advantage on the other side of half-time, and the Nigerian striker doubled his tally to put the Italian side 2-0 up. Giovanni Di Lorenzo got down to the byline and squared across to Osimhen who had an empty net at his mercy.
The Georgian wonderkid was wondering what he would have to do to beat Trapp tonight as he was denied for a third time, as he whipped a curled effort towards the bottom right corner, but the German keeper reacts quickly to palm it away. Trapp had a hat-trick of saves from Kvaratskhelia alone.
Napoli were awarded a penalty after Djibril Sow lunged in on Zielinski, who stepped up himself and coolly knocked the ball straight down the middle to all but confirm Napoli’s passage into the quarter-finals.
Spalletti’s side controlled the final 25 minutes as they limited Frankfurt and saw the game out professionally.
Player of the Match
Victor Osimhen (Napoli)
The Nigerian striker has been one of the best strikers this season, scoring 23 goals. His header for the first goal was one of the best leaping high and generating all the power himself to put Napoli ahead.
His link-up with Kvaratskhelia this season has been sensational and they have quickly become one of the best dynamic duos in Europe.